Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3666 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
a transport mode. We need a serious commitment to rail services from this government and an end to the automatic rejection of any ideas to improve real services. Indeed, we should encourage more ideas for improving rail services, have the debate and look at what we can be doing from this end to make rail transport an integral part of linking the ACT to the rest of the nation. I believe my amendment should now be agreed to.
MR BERRY (6.43): As a longstanding train buff I cannot help myself saying a few words about trains. One does not have the opportunity very often to talk about these things. Since I have been a member of the Assembly, since the beginning of self-government, there has been a fascination with very fast trains, which has occupied the minds of governments of various flavours almost totally. The very fast trains, in their various guises, have been offered to the people of the Australian Capital Territory as the alternative to the road system to assist the establishment of a major airport here, and so on.
Some time ago I had the luck to visit various train systems in Europe on a study tour. I was able to travel on the Spanish Talgo trains in their various guises-a 200-kilometre an hour train, which would be very nice in the ACT. It is a tilt train. I had the opportunity to travel on the TGV in France, a very nice train, which goes at 280 kilometres an hour, and is very comfortable. I had the opportunity to travel on the prototype maglev train-very comfortable-on a short-trial circuit. That travels at 412 kilometres an hour-quite extraordinary.
In all cases, these trains were intended for routes between major population centres with very high patronage and very high loads. To get to these various trains I travelled on very ordinary trains in Europe. Compared to the very ordinary trains in Australia the very ordinary trains in Europe were very fast-in Germany 160 kilometres an hour was quite common. It struck me at the time that we had all been distracted from doing something about the existing rail alignment by the glittering prize of a very fast train system.
Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker-I cannot resist this: there is a standing order that requires members to speak from the place they are allocated in the chamber.
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): The point of order is upheld, Mr Corbell. Thank you for your assistance.
MR BERRY: Thank you, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. It has been unfortunate that the Stanhope government has been caught because for all of these years the rest of us-and I was one of them-were mesmerised by the prospect of getting a very fast train. One of our earlier colleagues, Mr Moore, went over there and was seen on the television promoting the idea of a very fast train in the ACT. Most of the people in the ACT thought there was a real prospect of it.
As it turned out, it was never going to happen without massive subsidy from the taxpayer, bearing in mind that we have a centre of 300,000 people, and Sydney has 6 million or so within the greater area. But it was always a doubtful prospect without massive subsidy.